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After treatment for T-cell leukemia ends, talk with your doctor about developing a follow-up care plan. This plan may include regular physical examinations, blood tests, bone marrow biopsies, and possibly scans or other imaging tests to monitor your recovery for the coming months and years. ASCO offers cancer treatment summary forms to help keep track of the cancer treatment you received and develop a survivorship care plan once treatment is completed.
Several long-term side effects from leukemia treatment may occur:
- Lung damage from certain drugs or radiation therapy to the chest.
- A weakened heart muscle from higher doses of doxorubicin or radiation therapy to the chest.
- Infertility (inability to have a child) or early menopause from high-dose cyclophosphamide or other chemotherapy.
- Higher risk of infection, even after treatment ends, from chemotherapy, specifically with alemtuzumab.
- A secondary leukemia or secondary cancer (a cancer that develops because of the treatment for another type of cancer) is more common from chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
People recovering from T-cell leukemia are encouraged to follow established guidelines for good health, such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, eating a balanced diet, and having recommended cancer screening tests. People experiencing a long-term remission are encouraged to follow cancer screening recommendations for the general population to watch for other types of cancer. Talk with your doctor to develop a plan that is best for your needs. Moderate physical activity can help rebuild your strength and energy level. Your doctor can help you create an appropriate exercise plan based upon your needs, physical abilities, and fitness level. Learn more about the next steps to take in survivorship, including making positive lifestyle changes.
Find out more about common terms used after cancer treatment is complete.